MANHATTAN (CN) - McDonald's, CBS, Mazda and Microsoft use their Internet ads as a cover for data-mining, to identify the websites people visit, invading people's privacy, misappropriating their personal information and interfering with the operations of their computers, a class action claims in Federal Court. "Defendants acted in concert with [nonparty] Interclick, mining consumers' web browser histories for entries of particular relevance to defendants' respective, customized advertising campaigns," the complaint states.
Lead plaintiff Sonal Bose, of New York, N.Y., included Does 1-50 as defendants.
She claims McDonald's committed its offenses, including violations of computer privacy laws, through its online World Cup-theme game in the summer of 2010.
CBS did it in an online ad campaign for its "online fantasy sports platform" before the 2010 Major League Baseball season began; Mazda did it in ads for its summer sales and 2010 models, and Microsoft did it during a 7-month ad campaign for its Windows Smartphone, according to the complaint.
All of them worked with Interclick, which is not listed as a defendant. The complaint claims that "Interclick specialized in 'behavior advertising,' that is, Interclick tracks individual consumers to collect information about their web-browsing activities, which it compiled in individual profiles and analysis to determine which advertisements to display to which consumers. Interclick continually updates its database of consumer profiles with information acquired from and about consumers in its online advertising campaigns. ...